As you may know, Hawaii has planned since 2015 to have 100% renewable energy in the next two decades. Last year, statewide, we achieved 35%. Here on Kauai, pictured above, however, we already are well beyond 60%! That’s something to be proud of, especially given that previously, Hawaii has generated the majority of its electricity from increasingly high-priced imported oil. Been to the gas station lately?
Hawaii’s efforts are being closely monitored by other states and are providing a preview of moving towards wide-scale renewable energy. It makes sense for Hawaii to lead in renewable energy because we have some of the most expensive fuel costs in the country. The price here is $0.33 per kilowatt-hour. US residents consume an average of 900kWh per month. So we’ll let you do the math – it isn’t good.
Solar has become so efficient that 1/2 of the state’s renewable energy is coming from our rooftops. That is followed next by wind power and then by large-scale solar.
It’s interesting to note that nearly 80% of the state’s solar installations now include battery systems. To achieve its goal of 100% renewable energy, the state plans to:
- “Align government regulations and policies with clean energy goals;
- Facilitate processes for developing renewable energy;
- Deploy renewable generation and grid infrastructure;
- Explore next-generation technologies and new applications of existing technologies.”
Solar-Powered Beat of Hawaii
To digress, here at Beat of Hawaii, your editors are both fully committed to renewable energy, with solar power and with fully electric vehicles arriving soon. One of those vehicles is a Ford F-150 lightning. That truck is capable of acting much like a Tesla PowerWall, such that when reading Beat of Hawaii, the experience will soon be “driven” exclusive by renewable energy, through a combination of solar power and a Ford truck. The Ford Intelligent Backup Power system links the truck’s colossal battery pack with an intelligent, bidirectional charger capable of powering a building. Times they are a-changing.
Kauai jumpstarted the state’s transition.
The Garden Island has focused on renewables for years. The Kauai power company, KIUC, is expected to reach 80% renewable energy in just the next several years. Kauai is looking at what it can transform next which includes somehow reducing dependence on automobiles. That plan includes improved bus transportation (we’ll believe that when we see it), bicycles and bicycle-sharing, and better walking accommodation. The lack of sidewalks and accessibility at present, however, is discouraging.
Solar power provides the majority of the state’s renewable energy generation, primarily due to the growth of small-scale, customer-based solar panel power generation, which has recently doubled. Rooftop solar systems in Hawaii are now fully competitive with utility-based power.
Significant wind resources are also found in Hawaii, both on-shore and offshore, primarily based on seven utility company wind farms located on the Big Island, Maui, and Oahu. Geothermal and ocean wave energy are all part of the current and planned future mix.
Hawaii travel is also adopting renewable energy.
The Hawaii hospitality industry has long been interested in sustainability with solar high up on its priority list. Many hotels have or will be converting to primarily solar power.
Among those who have already adopted wide-scale solar power are the Hyatt Regency Maui, the Kea Lani Resort, and Turtle Bay Resort, just to name a few.